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Who is Sergeant Peter Cross? The Crown fact-checked

Zara Tindall sums up Princess Anne in ‘three words’

Erin Doherty portrays Princess Anne in the third and fourth season of The Crown on Netflix. In season four, it is revealed Anne has married cavalry officer Mark Phillips (played by Geoffrey Breton). The series alludes to real-life rumours regarding Anne’s relationship with Detective Sergeant Peter Cross. Express.co.uk has everything you need to know.

Who is Sergeant Peter Cross?

In episode four of The Crown, titled Favourites, sees Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) reflect on her role as a mother and her relationships with her four children: Charles (Josh O’Connor) Anne, Andrew (Tom Byrne) and Edward (Alex Jennings).

During the episode, Elizabeth has one-on-one lunches with her children, where Anne opens up to her mother about her unhappiness.

She asks her only daughter if everything in her marriage with Mark Phillips is ok, noting “there’s been…talk.”

Elizabeth was referring to rumours of an affair, between Anne and Sergeant Peter Cross.

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Detective Sergeant Peter Cross was assigned to the royal protection detail in 1979.

In Autumn 1979, he became Princes Anne’s bodyguard, serving in the role for less than one year.

In The Crown, Elizabeth reveals to Anne in light of the rumours, Scotland Yard is considering sending Cross back to ‘desk duties’.

Elizabeth told Anne the head of the Royal Protection branch had “felt compelled to mention rumours about a Sergeant Cross and the two of you being intimate.

“And in the light of these rumours, Scotland Yard have recommended his transfer back to desk duties in Croydon.”

Anne emotionally pleads: “Don’t do that to me. You can’t. He’s the one thing that makes me happy.”

Whether this exact conversation took place in real life remains unknown, as The Crown is a mixture of historical fact and fiction.

One thing is for sure, Anne and Peter were the focus of numerous affair rumours.

In 1984, Cross confirmed the affair to The News of the World and Harry Arnold at The Sun who initially broke the story in the early 1980s.

Bustle.com has reported Cross sold his story to the News of the World for £600,0000.

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At the time of the alleged affair, Anne was married to Calvary officer and Olympic equestrian Mark Phillips.

They married in November 1973 and have two children together, Peter and Zara.

Cross was married to his childhood sweetheart, Linda and they had two daughters together.

According to former royal reporter James Whittacker in the 2002 documentary The Real Princess Anne, Scotland Yard were aware of the affair.

He said: “When this came to the bosses, of course, at Scotland Yard—they’re the people who supply the protection officers—of course, they freaked out and Peter Cross was moved out very fast indeed.”

The Sun’s Harry Arnold, who originally broke the story shared in the same documentary: “I was told from an absolutely amazing source that he was having an affair with Princess Anne.

“I couldn’t use the word affair, so I invented the phrase that he became ‘overly-familiar’ with Princess Anne.”

He also revealed Cross got in touch with him two years later 1984 to confirm the story.

According to Arnold, Cross said: “When you wrote that story I was still married and I couldn’t admit it, but yet it was true and I can now tell you that it was true because I am now divorced.”

According to Cross, Anne used the pseudonym “Mrs Wallis” when speaking to Cross over the phone.

The name ‘Wallis’ may well have been an ironic reference to Wallis Simpson, the American wife of her great-uncle Edward.

Mrs Simpson was an American divorcee who King Edward VIII abdicated in order to marry.

Very little is known about Cross today. He married a dental nurse named Angela in 1985 and they have two sons together.

Following his career in the police, Cross worked a financial marriage.

Princess Anne and Phillips announced their intention to separate in August 1989, eventually divorcing in 1992.

She went on to marry naval officer Commander Timothy Laurence in 1992 and they remain together today.

The Crown is streaming on Netflix now

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